Influencer marketing campaigns can be incredibly effective. But done the wrong way and you not only waste money – you may also create negative associations towards your brand. Not only that – lots of brands nowadays are using influencers so you need to be extremely careful about how it’s managed to ensure you stand out from the crowd and get the most out of your budget.
Reach and influence are not the same. The focus nowadays is not on reaching the most amount of people (that’s easy) – the focus is on influencing the right people in the right way.
We’ve learnt a lot over the years, and things have changed. Here’s what you need to know to run a successful influencer marketing campaign in 2019.
Too often brands begin an influencer campaign by getting creatives together in the boardroom to brainstorm ideas. This is never the best starting point – unguided creative campaigns almost always underperform, and worse, the disconnect from preparation insights and unguided creative campaigns creates confused brand associations, are usually less memorable, and in some cases enhance customer defection.
Preparation includes at a minimum: specifying aims, target market profile analysis, channel analysis, influencer profiling and onboarding strategy, KPIs, identifying the most appropriate campaign type, and probably scheduling.
This is a minimum. Depending on the campaign it’s not unusual for us to conduct target audience psychometric profiling (to isolate judgement and decision-making triggers), affinity identification, arousal triggering (engagement motives analysis), and repurposing strategy.
2. Rock solid influencer agreements
Nowadays you can’t get away with simple agreements to ‘mention our brand’, nor can you simply offer a ‘free product’ for a mention. The influencer marketing landscape is now relatively mature, though with several pitfalls. For a start, robust agreements and briefings including payment terms are now the norm and must be structured and negotiated correctly.
An typical influencer brief nowadays includes: key objectives (engagement, KPIs), deliverables and timeline, audience profile, influencer budget, deadlines, reporting requirements, content review process (for influencer produced content), inspiration guidelines, post caption requirements, mood boards, deliverables, and importantly a list of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. In addition, don’t assume you own influencer produced content – in most cases they retain copyright so you’ll need to negotiate repurposing and reuse licences.
Influencer payment expectations typically range from < $1,000 to over $20,000 per campaign. If you don’t know how to correctly onboard an influencer, you could end up paying way too much! (we see this a lot).
3. Influencer onboarding – using the right influencers
A critical step when running an influencer campaign is identifying the right influencers for the brand and campaign and content. There is common belief our there that ‘micro-influencers’ are more effective. Well, they are in many situations – but not always. More important is matching the influencer’s audience to your brand, and producing the right content that sits in the middle and drives the interaction.
Careful attention must be given to the influencer’s followers just as much as the influencer. The influencer and their audience must be congruent with the brand, campaign aims and message, and the influencer ‘saturation rate’ (how many campaigns they typically do within a period).
- Mega Influencers
- Over 1 million followers. Well-known celebrities and social stars.
- Pro – Wide reach.
- Con – Very expensive and because of their celebrity status may lack a real connection with their followers.
- Macro Influencers
- Between 100,000 to 1 million followers. Usually YouTube or Twitch stars, often working through an agency (got famous on the internet).
- Pro – Most work with an agent (expensive).
- Con – Engagement rates can be unpredictable
- Micro Influencers
- Between 10,000 to 100,000 followers. Usually experts in a specific skill or topic (e.g., cooking, makeup, travelling).
- Pro – Usually have close connections with their followers, and therefore greater engagement (and trust)
- Con – Given the recent popularity of influencer marketing, many micro influencers have a high saturation rate – meaning lower than expected engagement
- Nano Influencers
- Less than 10,000 followers
- Pro – usually have higher than normal engagement
- Con – more difficult to identify nano influencers who have the right audience
Nowadays most jurisdictions have regulations that stipulate the rules of influencer marketing (e.g., FTC in the US, and ACCC in Australia), and will enforce those regulations (though Australian precedence has not yet been set – we suggest extreme caution). It’s critical that you know what those regulations are and ensure you’re compliant. Never leave it up to the influencer to ‘follow the rules.’ Many don’t – exposing you to legal risk. Included in your contract should be rules regarding hashtags (e.g., #sponsored or #ad), and correct disclosure placement depending on the media type. Check it yourself – don’t assume the influencer got it right!
5. Content Amplification
Included in your influencer contract and campaign brief should be an agreement and plan for content amplification after the main campaign has run its course (content licencing). Your campaign shouldn’t stop at influencer organic reach – nowadays social platform algorithms are becoming increasingly fickle (e.g., Instagram seems to be tightening certain organic posts). It’s good practice nowadays to boost the reach of sponsored influencer content through various complementary methods. For example, using the Facebook/Instagram handshake tool, negotiating an influencer admin access agreement, or even hosting twitter parties and Instagram challenges are becoming increasingly common.
You paid money for content – it makes sense to maximise the mileage, though in an intelligent well thought out way. Just be careful that you have the right content agreement in place – depending on your jurisdiction influencers may retain the copyright.
Influencer marketing campaigns have become the go-to strategy for brands nowadays because they’re relatively effective in terms of driving website visits and targeted reach, and relatively more efficient (conversion, ROI, attention) compared to more traditional digital marketing methods. But because of this newfound popularity, it has become increasingly important to run campaigns the right way. It’s no longer a matter of simply paying someone with a lot of followers to mention your brand. Reach and influence are not the same. Done wrong not only wastes your money, it can also also negatively affect your brand.
Contact us if you would like to learn more about how influencer marketing can help your brand.